"And more than ever Porgy and Bess does seem a masterpiece." So writes Anthony Tommasini in his New York Times review of the New York City Opera's current production of the classic Gershwin opera. "Again and again," Tommasini continues, "you are engulfed by the exuberant stream of Gershwin's prodigious musical gifts and won over by the authenticity of his vision." A live telecast of this production of Porgy and Bess will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 20 at 8 PM on PBS stations across the country (check local listings). Hosted by Beverly Sills, this "Live from Lincoln Center" event stars Marquita Lister as Bess and Alvy Powell as Porgy. The opera also boasts direction by Tazewell Thompson, sets by Douglas Schmidt and costumes by Nancy Potts with John DeMain conducting the New York City Opera Orchestra.
Although George and Ira Gershwin wrote Porgy and Bess as a grand opera, it wasn't presented in that manner until more than four decades after its much-cut 1935 Broadway debut. The first full-length mounting was presented by the Houston Grand Opera in 1976, and the City Opera's production is based on the 1983 Goldman production at Radio City Music Hall. This broadcast marks the first American production to be televised.
—By Andrew Gans